Mind you, I'm no psychologist. But I think I have it figured out.
Consider the consequences of a hang-up for the hanger-upper. The act of hanging up is a control act. The hanger-upper asserts immediate control over the conversation and the other person. This is important. Your partner may not admit to being a control freak. But this is a telltale clue.
Another important benefit for the hanger-upper is that disconnecting automatically, instantaneously, removes a painful negative stimulus. From an operant conditioning point of view, this is a self-reinforcing behavior.
So it's a double-whammy for the hanger-upper. By hanging up, she achieves a feeling of power while simultaneously eliminating a painful negative stimulus. What could be better?
But what about the hanger-uppee? What are the consequences for the person who's being hung up on?
Well of course, first of all you feel like you've been distanced. It's an awful silence on the other end of the line.
But mostly it's a feeling of abandonment. It's certainly an act of abandonment by the person who hangs up.
What are the emotions felt by someone who is abandoned by a loved one?
- Powerlessness: You are unable, even in theory, to continue the conversation with the other person. You have no control at all over your situation. You've been robbed of any power, any influence.
- Hopelessness: There's no hope of winning the argument or bringing the other person back. They've already left.
- Loneliness: You have gone from a two-person interaction to one person. You're by yourself.
I dug deeper into my girl's background, and here's what I found.
At a formative age (adolescent), her father left her mother. The father now dates one of the daughter's former high school teachers. Father and daughter occasionally talk on the phone, but daughter now hates father (even today, at age 32), and she frequently ends phone conversations by hanging up on her father.
My (ex)girlfriend loves her mom, defends her as a saint. She hates her dad, castigates him as a selfish, cruel person.
It all makes sense now. When her father left her mother, my girlfriend's dad was engaging in an act of abandonment -- a type of hanging up. My girlfriend was young at the time and keenly felt the sense of powerlessness imposed on her and her mother. They were powerless to bring the man back. Powerless even to plead for reconsideration. Powerless in the most fundamental sense of not having the ability (even in theory) to be heard.
My girlfriend learned from this experience, at an early age, that the way to gain power over a man -- and punish him for his insolence and disrespect for you (because after all, when you feel powerless and disrespected, you seek power and respect constantly, you make a fetish out of it) -- is to hang up on him. Abandon him. The way you were abandoned.
I feel sorry for someone like that. They're truly damaged goods. And they're going to go through life imposing their own psychological damage on others.
I feel pity. But not forgiveness. People who hang up on me might deserve all the pity in the world, but you know what? Rude assholes can go fvck themselves, I don't care how good a blowjob they give.